August 30, 2009

Last week I decided to clean out my closet. As in my actual closet, not the psychological one. My mental closet is still as cramped and messy as it's always been.

It was an impulsive decision. On the list of things I put off doing, oddly, this hadn't even been on it. One morning I decided to get rid of a belt I never wore and thought, 'I might as well get rid of other things I don't wear'. Totally unprepared for the task at hand. It was like jogging around the block and deciding to run a marathon. Six hours later I was stuck in the sartorial gulag - digging myself out from under a decade of clothes.

As I began to remove everything and dump it on the floor, the question was: how much of this stuff do I really need? Turns out, not so much. Especially considering I don't go anywhere or do anything.

Every item I picked up was loaded with memories of time gone by. Or, more specifically, how I used to have fun. How could I still be holding on to dresses that I wore in my 20's? That happy go lucky era is over.

Not to mention that inside every purse I've ever owned was a freeze frame from former dates I'd been on. For instance, matchbooks I'd taken as mementos from restaurants. There was the one from the Chinese place where an ex told me he thought I was perfect; just not for him. And the French bistro where another one apologized for the confusion, he had a girlfriend. And the napkin where someone else had written: sorry for calling you stupid. Good times.

Even worse were the little notebooks where I'd scribbled thoughts down - mini journal entries and things I wanted to do. Flipping through these notebooks it hit me: everything I was worried about in 2001, I'm still worried about now. The only difference is, now I'm aware eight years has passed and nothing's changed.

Generally speaking, when someone cleans out a closet, they will tend to give away all the old, shabby items and hold on to the nice ones. Not me. I saved all the ugly clothes. I'd hold up an expensive blouse and think, 'what are the chances I'll wear this again?' whereas any type of loungewear, I'd feel compelled to keep. I tried fooling myself into thinking it's because the shapeless caftan never goes out of style. But really it must represent where I think my life is headed.

Essentially, I have created a dream-come-true wardrobe for an agoraphobic.

People say all the time that cleaning out ones closet is healthy. "You'll feel so good afterwards!" I don't understand this at all. If I could feel elated getting rid of a pair of sandals, I'd buy them every day just to give them away. On the other hand, in the end I had three boxes full of clothing to give away to charity. I just hope that whoever ends up walking in my shoes has better luck in them than I did.